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Sony Says No PSP 2 4 U

According to SCEE president David Reeves, Sony has no plans to develop a PSP 2.

The news really should be of no surprise, as Sony has not seen solid support from developers and fans alike since its original appearance back in March 2005. Deemed as a portable multimedia extravaganza for both gamers and gadget enthusiasts, the PlayStation Portable offers PlayStation 2-like graphics, full-featured movies, Internet browsing, MP3 playback (and even more on hacked firmware). The device can even be used to control the PlayStation 3 console remotely, and just recently, Sony updated the firmware enabling users to download demos and other files straight from the PlayStation Network Store.

However, the device has several sore points: having difficulties rendering web pages due to its limited memory and problems with the UMD disks falling apart or suffering irreparable damage. The UMD format never caught on to the mainstream consumer; tons of movies were initially found on Walmart and Best Buy store shelves, but due to lackluster sales, most movie distributors forfeited support for the UMD format, thus the previous plethora was reduced to small helping at EB Games.

Although revising the original PSP-2000 model helped sales last year (nearly 200 percent by September 2007), the PSP console still falls behind the Nintendo DS in sales by a large number: just this past November, the Nintendo DS sold 1.56 million units, where as Sony's PSP only sold 420,539 units. The PSP 3000 hit the streets back in August, offering an improved LCD screen, a built-in microphone, and expanded video-out options. But with a bigger, brighter screen, the new hardware appalled gamers with its visible interlacing stemming from the screen's response time to reduce ghosting.

"Installed with this new LCD device, PSP-3000 offers more natural and vibrant colors on its screen, but the scan lines have come out to be more visible as a result of improving response time to alleviate the afterimages on PSP-3000," said SCEA. "Since this is due to hardware specification, there are no plans for a system software update concerning this issue."

Despite the issues with the PSP-3000, times are generally tough for Sony; both consoles fall behind Nintendo and Microsoft in sales, the company just announced that it's cutting up to 8,000 jobs (story) and even forked out $1 Million to the FTC for violating children's rights (story). So when SCEE president David Reeves told MCV that Sony currently has no plans for a PSP console, the news really isn't surprising. Then again, the company is focusing on the just-released PSP-3000 in the same manner as Nintendo USA is focusing on the DS Lite despite the release of the DSi in Japan. Both products bring in sales, and have no need for replacement. Yet.

Reeves admits that the PSP's problems is not in the hardware despite what critics (cough) may say, but in the game library. "Its weakness, however, is its software. And that’s because developers, when it comes to placing their bets, have to choose PS3 and 360, then Wii, then DS, maybe even PS2 before PSP. It’s the same at our internal studios, where the focus has been on PS3. They’ve also focused a lot on PS2 as well because we have to get the SingStars out for that format. So PSP games will come – they just take a while longer.”

There's no question that the PSP's library of games could be a bit more exciting, however gamers should note that the portable console does have a few gems: God of War: Chains of Olympus, LocoRoco, Ratchet&Clank: Size Matters, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and more. Hopefully time will bring more quality games to the PSP unit, however at this point in time, it is highly unlikely the device will topple the DS Lite or even the upcoming Nintendo DSi.